Published by the Nashville Post on October 6, 2016
Mel Taylor is president and CEO of Nashville-based technology company splitsecnd (style is correct), which offers a portable device that plugs into the 12V-outlet of any vehicle and is equipped with a SIM card that allows crash detection, emergency assistance and vehicle monitoring.
Founded in 2010 and having originated, in part, via Jumpstart Foundry the company was named Top New Technology for Seniors at AARP Conference in May 2015.
Post Managing Editor William Williams recently chatted with Taylor.
I understand that the device — within seconds of an automobile accident — connects drivers to responders who have access to vehicle information and to medical history of the driver. What is the significance of this for your company?
splitsecnd focuses on two things: safety and simplicity. Together with Orange Business Services, we can ensure that drivers stay safe and connected while on the road, 24/7, at the push of a button. The Orange extensive global network eliminates costly roaming charges and ensures the device can be used regardless of what make, model or year a vehicle is or what cell phone carrier the driver has. Other response devices work only with certain cell phone providers and in certain parts of the world. Our device allows drivers to get help when they need it no matter their location or cell phone service.
For seniors, teens and their relatives, your technology seems particularly useful. Thoughts?
When an accident occurs, the device immediate establishes two-way communication with a trained operator at splitsecnd’s emergency response center. Their GPS location, vehicle information and medical history are immediately shared with responders to ensure that drivers receive the most effective and efficient assistance possible, even if the driver is unable to respond.
Additionally, our device automatically syncs to the splitsecnd Dashboard so that friends and family can view the location of any vehicle, review past trips and encourage good driving habits. By simply logging into the dashboard on any desktop or mobile device, you have access to real-time location and driving data that provide instant peace-of-mind, especially for families with aging loved ones or teen drivers.
You have been doing some major hiring recently and plan to continue doing so. What can you say about that?
We have grown our team to seven full-time employees and also partner with a local software development company to continue creating features that help keep drivers safe and connected.
Your office is in Marathon Village. Any reason for that?
Marathon is a great location in the heart of the city, making it easy for our team to commute and for visitors to stop by the office. It’s a beautiful building with open spaces and lots of light and character. There’s a great energy of innovation due to the many startups located in the area, and the fact that it used to be an automobile manufacturing facility is just an added bonus.
You are the chairman of the Tennessee State Advisory Board for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Thoughts?
MADD is a fantastic organization that aligns with the core principle of safety that we have at splitsecnd. As a mother of three, my goal is to make sure our roadways are as safe as possible and that all drivers are not only well-educated on driving safety, but are also as prepared as possible for whatever may happen.
Earlier this year, the company landed $2.4 million in debt funding that helped fulfill some big orders for international customers. How do priorities change when you’re selling a significant amount of product overseas?
Because we’ve created a global product that can work in any car and in any country, the only additional priority is to adjust our message and language to best communicate with and serve overseas markets.
Is it difficult to sell a plug-in product when consumers have such powerful mobile devices? How do you position your company to compete?
Originally, we developed splitsecnd as an app for a mobile phone but quickly realized that it needs to be a standalone, fixed device for safety and simplicity reasons. If a phone is left at home, breaks in a crash or the battery dies, drivers won’t have access to potentially life-saving features. So we intentionally developed splitsecnd to ensure that the driver’s safety isn’t dependent on their mobile phone.